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Royal Standard Hotel (Bertha House)

R35.5 million


Tondox (Pty) Ltd on behalf of the Bertha Foundation


Mowbray, Cape Town


Heritage Alterations & Additions




Toro Agency Design & Architecture + Jakupa Architects & Urban Designers (Pty) Ltd


The project, located in Mowbray, bounded by Main Road, Osborne Road as well as Batten Lane, on the edge of and within a Heritage Protection Overlay Zone, called for a consolidation of seven Erven, five of which had three existing buildings with SAHRA Grade IIIB. The thus design called for the structurers to be altered and extended to form one unified public facility know as Bertha House, consisting of offices, meeting rooms, lecture rooms, a library, as well as an auditorium and a canteen located with access off the Main Road.

The intention was to conserve the existing external street facades on Main Road (eastern facades) and Osborn Streets (southern facades) and to sensitively tie the three buildings together internally with a contemporary circulation “spine”, new vertical circulation core, fire escape staircases and main entrance.

The collection of three buildings required a new main entrance on Main Road. The historic façade had a number of entrances in the form of glazed shopfronts, three single doors and a corner double door. In fulfilling the design intent, a discreet new contemporary glazed shopfront was inserted and setback between the existing single door entrances to the old hotel. By setting back the new entrance, a covered street lobby was then created which provides covers and a sheltered room as part of the streetscape, before arriving at the facilities reception. The reception area, as the head of the circulation “spine”, links Main Road to the circulation spine which terminates at a landscaped external sunken courtyard to the back.

Internally, all the existing buildings have different height datums on ground floors as well as first floors. The sinking of the courtyard at the end of the spine was designed as a solution to provide universal access to all differing levels, thus providing a common datum from which all the various levels can be accessed via both lift and stair access. Other than the functional access requirement, the sinking of the courtyard provided for shelter from strong south easterly winds resulting in a cozy, sunny spill-out space.

As part of the design philosophy, existing doors, windows and floors that were earmarked for removal were to be reused and revitalized in new elements. To that end, new joinery in spill-out spaces have old doors as the screening elements to a functional kitchenette behind, whilst the canteen counter has the old floor trips used as the fronting element. We even managed to repurpose the old windows into a little green house.